AAP 2011: Fears of the First Seizure

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Eric Kossoff, MD, started off the session "First and Second Seizure…Now What Do I Do?" saying how important it is as physicians to calm parents down when their child experiences a seizure.

Eric Kossoff, MD, started off the session “First and Second Seizure…Now What Do I Do?” by saying how important it is as physicians to calm parents down when their child experiences a seizure.

Fears of the first seizure

It is important that parents understand what is happening and what exactly a seizure is and means. There are some who become irrational to the point where they think the child has a brain tumor. Through education, the parents are then able to explain what is happening to the rest of their extended family. Kossoff joked by saying that there are some parents who probably say that the neurologist does not know what is wrong.

Of course the biggest fear to those who are uneducated is if the child will die. It is very difficult for anyone who sees a child experience a seizure especially those that include convulsions; parents get scared. Kossoff said that the best action to take when a child has a seizure is to “back away instead of jumping in to help.” He explained that there are parents who try to do CPR, but it is completely unnecessary.

Anticonvulsants

There are many parents who do not want their children to be put on medication. With the number of side effects, one can understand this concern, especially if they know other who take these types of medications for other neurological or psychological disorders. The parents would rather have the work up done first before making the drastic decision to have their kids on the meds. Kossoff said that most of those treatments are not approved for patients under age 4, but that most kids do great when on anticonvulsants even with all of the side effects.

Additionally, the Internet plays bad cop when it comes to parents becoming agitated about anticonvulsant drugs. They will read blogs where parents write about how a drug did not do anything for their children and that they should pursue legal action against the neurologists and drug companies based on the various side effects. “One of the things we as neurologists need to be wary of is the Internet,” said Kossoff. “The Internet is your friend, but the Internet can also be your enemy.”

When parents go online, they can be misinformed about what epilepsy is. Kossoff said that he generally provides a list of Internet-based resources that provide the best information about epilepsy to the parents; Epilepsy.com and Epilepsy Foundation, both which include the core information about this disorder.

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